§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how much profit the Government have made on the BP holding that was compulsorily acquired from Burmah at a price of £179 million.
§ Mr. John Smith
The Government have not acquired any BP shares from Burmah, but as one part of the Government support operation mounted for Burmah the company last year agreed to sell its unpledged BP shares to the Bank of England, which has held them among the assets of the Issue Department. If it be assumed—as is by no means necessarily the case—that so large a holding could be sold at the present market price, the value of the holding at the close of business on Monday 22nd March was £447 million, or £268 million more than cost.